12 October 2004

Portable computers

The Division has decided to give staff the opportunity to use a portable or laptop computer in place of their desktop.

While the University Information Management Systems Committee (UIMSC) is yet to complete its Laptop Policy, in its discussions of the matter at its meeting no. 2004/4 held on 15 June 2004, the Committee noted, among other things, that:

The additional equipment required to be issued with laptops are: an additional mouse keyboard; carrying case; monitor and riser (docking station).

A base system portable computer costs the Division between $1,800 and $2,300 depending on the brand, more if extras like a DVD burner or wireless network card are required: to add an additional mouse, keyboard, carrying case, monitor and riser or docking station could conceivably double the cost of the computer.

Next year's IT Loan is already oversubscribed without taking the extra costs for portables into account: desktop computers cost us around $2,000 each, much less than the final cost of a portable if all the items required by UIMSC are to be supplied as well as the basic portable computer. The proposals for replacement and new computers for 2005 submitted to the Division's IT & Infrastructure Committee is based on the cost of a desktop, so we won't be able to buy as many computers if there is a strong demand for portables.

The Executive of the Division has noted the additional costs of portable computers and agreed that new staff of the Division will have a choice of portable or desk-based computers. Continuing staff will eventually have the same choice through a rolling program. The costs for portable computers compared with desktopswill be clarified once the University's laptop policy is finalised by UIMSC.

Update 29 July 2005: The Division’s new laptop policy has come into effect.